Celebrating 50 years of [In]dependence

For those of you who have those entertainment boxes connected to some cable, you must have heard that we have been celebrating 50 years since [in]dependence. The top honchos or clowns as I prefer to call them decided that one day wasn’t enough so gave us Friday off too which I must say was a good thing- I left my bed at 1200 noon :-P.

As a great cynic, I don’t see any reason for celebration and I will tell you why in a second.

50 years later, close to 60% of the population have no access to clean water and proper sanitation and this demographic includes those living in the city slums. What is there to celebrate?

50 years after the British left, we have not added a single unit length to the railway. On the contrary, those who were managing it have left it disuse, it’s land grabbed, train service to most parts discontinued. What is this we are celebrating?

When the founding fathers of the nation, such men as Jaramogi, Ramogi Acheing’ Oneko, Kaggia, Ngei fought for independence, they imagined a just society. What happened later is a far cry from their ambitions. We still have Kenyans who are called squatters in their own country while a few families sit on acres of land they don’t know what to do with. What independence is this? They were better of in settlement schemes run by the white overlords!

Most parts of the country are unreachable because of poor roads, roads which donor agencies funded but appears to me to have been built in people’s bellies for we see them nowhere. I must add here that the last regime made an attempt to improve this situation. At least a number of roads are being carpeted and missing links being upgraded. Maybe this is what they are celebrating, I don’t know.

A big population do not have access to proper medical facilities and if there is a medical facility, then there is insufficient staff to attend to the big population. What is there to celebrate?

50 years down the line, the country is divided along tribal lines so severe that in most government offices, one feels like he interupted a village baraza being addressed by the village headman for the lingo is local dialects. How is this anything to celebrate when we can’t live in harmony with one another?

A country that has relatively large tracts of arable land is so food insecure that any major drought in some parts of the country always results in Kenyans for Kenyans initiatives. How do we celebrate such poor governance?

Public transport in our major cities is for lack of a better word non existent. It is a mess run mostly by thieves and would be thieves. It is unreliable, inefficient and most times the crew have little respect for passengers if they have any. How do we celebrate such lack of progress?

Insecurity, especially with proliferation of small arms is on the increase. One is never sure where the robber is. At any place you are a candidate for muggers or armed robbery while parliament and treasury in every consecutive budget allocates millions of money to the defense department and office of the president. How, dear friends, is this something to celebrate?

After several years of struggle for media freedom, we have the vice president saying media freedom is alien to Africa and is being promoted by the west for selfish reasons and the top clown says in Britain the fines that are attached to media laws are higher and prohibitive than what the current parliament has passed. What madness is this? How can we as a people sit and celebrate such mediocrity, such lunacy, such madness without feeling some shame. Am appalled at the type of people who we elected as representatives.

7 or so years ago, we fought because a few stupid clowns we paid to conduct elections bungled it so badly that the then chairman in a later interview declared he doesn’t know who won the elections yet he declared some clown as the winner, a clown who was immediately sworn in as president in moonlight like the rest of the country wasn’t to know. Now we still have internally displaced persons waiting to be resettled by the government. Tell me, what are they to celebrate?

For those Kenyans who think we have a lot to celebrate, please weigh in, I really would want to hear you out.

Happy holidays everyone

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

53 thoughts on “Celebrating 50 years of [In]dependence

  1. Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    MUST READ: A powerful and shocking essay on life inside Kenya.


  2. john zande says:

    Not much to say, is there.


    • makagutu says:

      Not much I guess. I think they are those who will think am being cynical but that is how I see it


      • john zande says:

        Unfortunately, I believe you.


        • makagutu says:

          What annoys me the most is the media doesn’t censure the government’s lavish spending for the celebrations when at the same time guys are dying at health centres because there is a strike. Please tell me my friend, if this isn’t madness of the highest degree? You can’t tune onto a radio station- something I hardly ever do- without listening to the nonsense of Kenya at 50, let us celebrate.

          In high school, one of the set books we did tells a story of a poor country that spends so much money on celebrations whilst citizens are starving. I think the author had the current clowns in mind. Am appalled.


          • john zande says:

            I hear you. Brazil is spending billions upon billions on new stadium for the World Cup next year, yet there’s no money, we’re told, to pay teachers more. The governments response to the protests earlier this year was to “import” 15,000 doctors from Cuba, yet they didn’t put a dollar more into building new medical schools. Mismanagement is a countries sickness.


            • makagutu says:

              It is sickening to hear such things. One wonders whether it is possible to elect a politician with half a brain because it seems the ones we have have none!


  3. What a bleak picture.


  4. If your newspaper in Nairobi has an Editorial section, you should email this to them for printing.


  5. Eric Alagan says:

    A very bleak picture indeed, my friend.

    I don’t view cynicism as all bad – as it’s often the smoke that hints of a raging fire.

    P/s Singapore will celebrate 50 years in 2015 – we have much to be thankful.


  6. exrelayman says:

    Here is my take on this. If there is some kind of overview beyond ‘it all just happened’, the correct and true overview must be that this world is a cosmic (comic) asylum. This is a place for crazy people. The sobering aspect is that I must belong here!


  7. aguywithoutboxers says:

    I don’t doubt you at all, my friend! The problem, unfortunately, isn’t restricted to just Kenya. Here in the USA, the infrastructure is on the road to collapse because the government funds are being redirected from beneficial programs to the tedious whims of a hateful and selfish right-wing that sees itself as the only way this country needs to operate.

    I like the suggestion that you post an editorial in your newspaper. Perhaps that might get some attention for your concerns.

    I don’t view you as cynical, my Nairobi brother. You are a realist who is honest about what he observes.

    Great perspective! Have a good weekend:)


  8. Sounds familiar.
    A few miles south and similar scenarios are played out daily down here.

    And guess what? While everyone’s attention has been focused on the passing of Mandela the e-tolls in and around Johannesburg kicked off ,and the government quietly passed the highly contentious Secrecy Bill.

    The new year is going to very interesting in SA, make no mistake.

    I read John;s comment with a wry sense of deja vu humour.

    The soccer stadium in Durban built especially for the 2010 World Cup cost 4 Billion. Yes you read that correctly. And that was just one stadium.


    • makagutu says:

      4 billion is quite some money especially since I don’t think they made so much money from the event to defray some of these costs and it will take quite a long time for the stadiums to pay back this money.

      Legislators are a bad lot. Sometimes you hear a law was passed and one wonders whether there were any brains in the house at that time.

      Hope you have been well mate?


  9. CHope says:

    @Mak, you’re not being negative, you’re a realist. Your nation has some major shit going on and you’re calling it as you see it. I’m an American and I’m learning more and more that politicians and Corporate America can’t always be trusted. I agree with some of the other comments on here, this article would be great for an editorial.

    We have issues with meth labs in my conservative county in the blood red state of Tennessee because there’s so much country (woods, trees and fields, etc) for them to hide in. One popular place for lock downs is this huge Christian campground site called Rose of Sharon. People around here DON’T want to talk about meth. I was at my kid’s soccer game a couple of months back and there were only adults around me as a college age guy struck up a conversation and we began to talk about the issue of meth in the area. We barely began our discussion when his grandmother butted in and started sticking up for the sheriff! No one was insulting the authorities in any way, shape or form, we were only addressing meth and it’s creators. We just went back to talking about lame shit like the weather.

    Not too long ago, news came out that there was a sex trafficking issue in my county. High school girls here and in the northern part of the county just south of us were being used. News reporters questioned local citizens and asked them “What do you think of this?” I kid you not, all the women said “It’s the world”.

    I swear, being an atheist stay at home mom with a Northern accent and a retired military husband has been no picnic living in west Tennessee. If you’re a woman and don’t say everything in Christianese with ribbons and glitter, you’re labeled negative and unloving.


    • “politicians and Corporate America can’t always be trusted”

      I’m an American too, CHope, and I find that most politicians and Corporate America can never be trusted.

      “this article would be great for an editorial.”

      See, Mak – that’s two of us – NOW will you listen?


      • CHope says:

        I agree with you about our nation, arch! There seems to be this constant “dumbing down” going on and it’s irritating.

        All I do is ask “why?” and I can’t believe how rowdy people get when I ask such an innocent question. Whether it’s how the government is run, the way we operate our schools or how we discipline our children, we should always evaluate our actions and the deeds of those in leadership. As I’ve told another blogger, I teach my kids to treat others as they would want to be treated, but if someone is horrible to them ALL BETS ARE OFF! Assholes don’t deserve respect, they’re to be made accountable for their actions.

        Okay, time to step down from my soap box. I’m going to get back to enjoying my totally secular, Jesus-less Christmas with my family with decorations, two Christmas trees and my homemade gingerbread cookies. My eight year old will be rocking out on his electric guitar in a concert tonight.

        You guys take care of yourselves and those you love.I hope everyone has a Happy Chriskwanzukkah! Merry Festivus to all and to all a good night!


      • makagutu says:

        I have listened and will follow it up!


    • I’m semi-seriously considering getting some “MAKAGUTU For President” banners printed for Kenya’s next election – better to be led by a philosopher, than a politician.


    • makagutu says:

      I’m an American and I’m learning more and more that politicians and Corporate America can’t always be trusted.

      Two groups I have never trusted and for good reason.

      Strange world the land of the free is!


      • CHope says:


        Indeed! We are bound to arrogant leadership and to those who have excessive amounts of money here in the States.

        Even now, as my boys are just five and eight, I tell them to do what they enjoy doing to earn money as they get older. I help them with this in the present by encouraging them in what they love to do now or have shown an ever growing interest in as time goes by.

        So many of us lose what we desire in our hearts because we take that dark and loud factory job or that mundane desk job for “security”. Before you know it, CEOs, supervisors and even union reps let us down and we’re laid off, miserable, broke and so disconnected to what we once loved.


      • “Strange world the land of the free is!”

        That needs revising, to read “the land of the not too terribly expensive.”


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